Dry Dredgers Field Trip
September 26, 2009
Northeastern Kentucky

Kope, Fairview and Bellevue Formations

It had rained for days before this field trip. It rained all night before the field trip. It was raining that morning. But everyone knows the Dry Dredgers field trips are held rain or shine. It doesn't mean members MUST attend, but they may. And they came to this one. When we visited this site in 2005, it was raining too, but good fossils were found anyway. So this time, we had a good turnout of Dry Dredgers eager to find good fossils. And no one was disappointed. As you will see, some GREAT fossils were found. We arrived at 11 am. It stopped drizzling by noon.

The site exposes much of the Kope and Fairview formation. Since we pulled over in the heart of the Fairview formation and there were plenty of fossils there, most stayed in these layers.

Here are some photos from our nice outing. It was a lot of fun.

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Fossils Found That Day

The best find was this excellent Isotelus trilobite. Most of the exoskeleton was missing, but some parts remained and the rest was internal mold. Congratulations!


Another articulated Isotelus was found, but less of it remained. (below 1 pic).

Here's another Isotelus. The pygidium is exposed and some of the thorax may be under the matrix.


Another Isotelus remains only as a free check. You can see the eye in this picture. You can also see a cephalopod.

Another Isotelus find consisted of broken segments that may fit back together.

Most Isotelus parts were found loose on the surface of rocks.

The next best find was what looks like a rolled up sea star fossil. (next 2 pics)

Lots of calyxes of the Crinoid, Ectenocrinus simplex were found. There were 3 calyxes in the next picture.
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Here's an interesting crinoid fossil. It falsely looks as if could be a Radicular cirri, a type of holdfast where root-like extremities hold the crinoid to the muddy ocean bottom. However, the supposed "root" structure, as you can see in this photo, isn't connected to the stem. It is just arms from another crinoid below the stem.

Another interesting crinoid holdfast that was found was this coiled crinoid base. In this case, the crinoid wrapped around another crinoid or other object to hold on and grow.

Quite a few "log jams" were also found. This is a dense population of articulated crinoid stems.


Cephalopods Found

We all found lots of nice specimens of straight-shelled Nautiloid Cephalopods. What was nice about the combination of this particular site and the recent rain, the Cephalopods were light brown in color, making them easy to spot as you walk along the gray shale. The brown coloring is from the calcite that fills the cavities of the chambers and also replace some of the shell.

Notice that when you look at the ends of these Cephalopods, you can see the tube of the Siphuncle running down the center of one of the shell. Usually, one side is filled in with sediment and the other by calcite. You can see this in the next two photos.

When looking at these Nautiloid Cephalopod fossils, look for epizoans (attached animals). These next 3 pictures show that the Cephalopod had been encrusted while alive with the bryozoan Spatiopora. The elongated monticules align with the direction of travel, suggesting the bryozoan was hanging on while the Cephalopod was swimming.


Do you see another epizoan on the above Cephalopod? Those tiny black "tar spots" growing on the surface of the bryozoan growing on the Cephalopod is Sphenothallus, a type of worm holdfast. This is the first time I know I've seen Sphenothallus on Spatiopora. Nice! I wonder if this was while the Cephalopod was alive?!

This next Cephalopod is interesting because of the way the chambers made curved impressions on the surface of this fossil.

Many of the Cephalopods were found in matrix, such as the ones in the next two pictures. They also stood out due to their light brown color.

Some of the Cephalopods were found as broken fragments. This one provided a cross-section of the chambers filled with Calcite.

Pelecypods (clams) Found

Many of the bivalves found had a black residue on the surface. This is from the original clam shell and can reveal microstructure from the valve.

Here's a great clam find. This Dry Dredger broke open a rock and found a complete clam. One side shows the external mold and the other side shows the internal mold of the same clam.

Bryozoans Found

As is true for all Cincinnatian fossil sites, this site was loaded with bryozoan colonies.

Here are some nice specimens of the bryozoan Constellaria. The monticules are star shaped, thus the name.

The Constellaria is a branching (ramose) bryozoan. Here's a well articulated specimen to prove it.

Other types of branching bryozoans littered the ground and were found attached to rock.


These next two specimens resemble the holdfasts of crinoids. But they are actually bryozoans.

A few of the bryozoan fragments had a strange red coloration. I think the red color is living algae, but I'm not certain.

This light brown specimen is a split-open fragment of a massive bryozoan on a fragment of a slab.

Here's a group shot of the bryozoans I took home that day.

Ichnofossils (Trace Fossils) Found

This rock has all kinds of trace fossils on it. Some of the straight lines look like worm traces. But the double-node trace near the bottom of the slab looks more like a trilobite trace to me.

This next trace looks like a multiple Rusophycus (trilobite burrow). I'm not sure it really ism though. It could be a worm trace.

Gastropods (snails) Found

Quite a few internal molds of snails were found. Here are two on the surface of a rock. They are probably either Paupospira or Lophospira.

At least one Bellerophontid was found. This is a variety of Monoplacophoran. This is a snail-like mollusk that coils in on itself and has an opening that bells out.
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It was also a good site for finding lots of Cyclonema, which is one of the few snail varieties in our area that have the external features of the shell preserved.

Brachiopods Found

This site exposes a layer of the articulate brachiopod Strophomena, which is found abundantly in the Richmondian formations. In this case, we are in the Fairview formation and the Strophomena are limited to this layer.
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Here's a photo of the layer in situ. It's chunk-full of Strophomena.

I found an example of a Strophomena on the surface of a rock that shows the muscle scars that are diagnostic of the species. Notice also the unusual white coloring. These Strophomena are normally a lighter shade of brown than the other brachiopods. But it seems the minerals in this particular rock have colored all the fossils a much lighter shade.

Another kind of brachiopod that has very light coloration is the inarticulate brachiopod, Trematis millepunctata. You can identify this type of brachiopod by the tiny bumps that seem to puncture holes in the whitish surface. They are barely visible in this specimen (below).

One member found a pocket of what I think are juvenile Hebertella.

Some Vinlandostrophia were also found. The specimen below seems to resemble Plectorthis on one side (first pic) but when turned over (second pic), you can see that it's really a Vinlandostrophia. I'm not sure which species it is.
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That's all there is for this field trip. It was worth going out there in the rain.

Now join us for our October 2009 field trip to the Oakes Quarry Park near Dayton, Ohio.

See some of our previous trips to this site.

March, 2008
September 2005

April 2005

Sept. 2003

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